Panola College freshman guard Cameron Carson was glad to have a chance to showcase his talents.
The Houston Community College Eagles had already seen too much of him by the time Saturday afternoon’s season opener was finished.
Carson hit seven 3-pointers and was a key factor in the Ponies’s 42-2 run to start the second half that gave them a 97-63 win in Arthur Johnson Gym.
The 1-0 Ponies return to action Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. home game against Tribulation Prep.
Ironically, the Ponies couldn’t buy a 3-pointer in the first half, and new coach Aaron Smith was not a happy camper.
“We were not happy with the first half at all,” he said. “We were like 3 of 17 from the 3-point line and we were turning the ball over too much. We switched the lineup in the second half and it worked out great.
“The second half was much better. Cameron came in and hit a 3-pointer and got us going. Dominique Jackson played well getting to the rim and gave us a great spark. He really helped lead to our second-half run.”
The Ponies built up a 42-32 lead late in the first half, only to see the Eagles make it a four-point game before Panola led 40-32 at the half.
PC scored the first seven points of the second half with Carson hitting a 3-pointer at the 17:39 mark.
The Eagles came right back with a bucket, but wouldn’t score again for almost 10 minutes.
Davian Sanders hit second basket of the half for the Ponies before Carson connected on another 3. Kelyn Pennie drained a 3-pointer and Carson hit back-to-back 3’s to make it 61-34.
Aaron Gedeon got a slam to break up the long-distance shooting, but Carson and Pennie both drained one more from behind the arc to make it 69-34 with 13:49 left.
The Ponies would score 13 more points before HCC scored again, but only one 3-pointer from Chris Coley in the run
Carson finished with a game-high 24 points, making seven 3-pointers in the game and five in the second-half run.
“This was great,” Carson said. “It was good to have a game like this and good to be able to showcase what I can do. I was glad everyone came together and did their part to get us the win.
“Coach really got on our butts in the locker room. We came out and did what we had to do.”
A full-court press to start the second half worked hand in hand with the 3-point shooting in getting the blowout win.
“A lot of it was putting pressure on them,” Smith said. “We were able to get some turnovers or limiting them to just one shot. Then for us, one made shot led to another.”
Jackson had 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Pennie hit four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points, and Teddy Ochieng had 10 and Coley had nine.